Linux Process Accounting

When installing a fresh copy of Fedora, make sure to select the psacct and sysstat packages and run chkconfig psacct on to enable process accounting. Always a good thing to have snapshots of activity to show which processes and users are sucking up the most system time and bandwidth.

Process accounting was invaluable over the past few days while diagnosing problems with Tomcat4. One of our servers kept spiking up to a load average of well over 100, kernel panicing, and going unresponsive to pings. After various Web searches, we found that other people were experiencing similar problems with Tomcat4 where a server that had been operating normally for months (or years) suddenly started randomly crashing and burning.

After seeing recommendations to upgrade to Jetty or Tomcat5, we chose Tomcat5 for simplicity of configuration and that solved our problem. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.

Aw, nuts!

The neighbor’s $300 as-is POS Buick lost its brakes yesterday so, being the good Samaritan, I helped them out with replacing the brake lines and rotors, and supplied a few bottles of street grade brake fluid that have been collecting dust for a few years and did a full bleed for them. But that’s neither here nor there.

When I went into the garage to grab my tools, I found it rather odd that a peanut was sitting atop my tool chest. A large Ziploc bag of peanuts was on the top shelf of the rack, but it was sealed. I opened up one of the drawers, and peanut shells were littered everywhere. I opened another drawer. Same thing. Another. Same. Except the last drawer I opened also had a little nest, lots of mouse poo, and scraps of fur. Joy.

I still don’t know where the peanuts came from. The Ziploc was sealed tight, and there were no holes in the bag. And there was probably a handful or two worth of shelled and eaten peanuts scattered among my tools. I guess it will remain a mystery.

I need a Trailmonkey…

I hopped on the mountain bike last night and did a leisurely 8 miles in Winnekenni Park around Kenoza Lake. It was the first time I’d actually ridden up to the castle and, instead of just bombing back down the access road, I took Castle Trail back down to Dudley Porter Trail. There was quite a bit of washout and a few fallen logs on Castle Trail which turned it into a mildly technical run.

Instead of tackling the hill on Shore Trail, I dropped down to Plug Pond Trail which has quite a few rocks and exposed roots. I was caught out a few times because my tire pressures were too high, I lost traction on the larger uphill obstacles, and dropped my chain due to a poorly-adjusted front derailleur. Other than the few times my feet were forced to touch the ground, the trail was in great condition. Even the mudpit where the trail meets the lake was almost dry and easily navigable.

Merrill Trail, however, was much different than I remember from last year. Extremely tight and twisty, the trail had become an extremely overgrown singletrack with lots of blind corners. Bushes and branches hung into the trail from all sides giving a tunnelvision effect. It was also extremely dry hardpack, which led to some very high speeds weaving between trees and bushes. I came up on the bridge so fast I didn’t even have time to hop onto it; I just dove into the (luckily) dry stream bed and popped out the other side. A few fallen trees right at helmet level made the last 1/4 mile quite interesting.

Now that I know the conditions are dry, I’ll definitely load my pack up with my Digital Rebel and document the trail.